The Right to Choose: Protecting Union Workers from Forced Political Contributions

Witness and Testimony Documents
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Daphne, Alabama
Duvall, Washington
Willard and Margaret Carr, Professor of Labor and Employment Law Indiana University Maurer School of Law
February 08, 2012,

Every worker should have the choice to decide whether their money is taken from their paychecks and used to fund political activity.   When this occurs, a worker should also have the right to know how their money is spent.

Individual freedom and personal choice are cornerstones of our democratic government—they are also at the heart of union participation in America.

Today’s hearing will examine the process by which union dues are collected and how transparent unions are about this process.  The Committee’s focus is not an examination of the validity of unions or their right to exist, but rather an effort to ensure that the political activity of unions does not infringe the freedoms of workers.

Because of recent court decisions and a systematic effort by the Obama Administration to reduce union transparency and reporting requirements, union workers do not currently know how much of the money from their paycheck dues is being funneled to SuperPACs or used for other political activity.  The Administration has also drastically reduced the Department of Labor’s ability to effectively audit labor organizations.

These actions will have far-reaching consequences. I welcome the union workers who have agreed to testify today and appreciate their willingness to speak their mind about what they see as unjust restrictions on their freedom of choice in our democracy.